Shrink it & Pink it

Posted on March 29, 2012. Filed under: Exercise | Tags: , |

Believe it or not my gf owns this tool kit. It was a gift

There are many things that I feel the fitness industry needs to wrap their minds around as a whole to get us to where we should be in the health care equation.

The first is that if the client fails it’s our fault. Yep, that’s right, it’s my fault if my client fails. And if you are a trainer or coach and your client fails it’s your fault too. But that’s for another blog.


One of the other issues I feel is how women’s fitness is continuing to be handled. It’s almost as if the a certain number of good coaches have given up.

Competing against the barrage of marketing for secret diets and plastic surgeons, they’s rather focus on dealing with female athletes

I understand the frustration, but the more it’s left to those type of people. The worse the overall health of many will decline.

In my observation the issue is we as a fitness industry fall into one of 2 scenarios.

  1. We shrink it and pink it
  2. We go along with whatever the audience wants to hear regardless if we believe it works or not.


Shrink it and pink it. for those not familiar, is the terminology used to describe the way many businesses market toward women. All you had to do was reduce the size of whatever your product is and make it pink, and that will sell to women.



It’s also used to describe stereotypical thinking. So for women it must be pink or about shopping, or make up. For men, it should have scantily clad women with big breasts, and explosions, and such.

To be fair these stereotypes exist for a reason. But the fitness industry seems to have a long history of dealing with women’s fitness in this way.


This blog was sparked as I started thinking about something, what co-ed gym chain or business has the highest female percentage? And I began to wonder what CrossFit’s ratio is, because I believe it’s increasing. Which is great, more women are lifting weights yay!

Of course as I have mentioned before CrossFit coaching is very much a dice shoot, so that could also lead to a lot of women being turned off to lifting as well.


The fitness times are changing and we do see an increase of women athletes, and women encouraged to *gasp* lift something heavy. But I also see a lot of women make a B-line for the cardio machines. And when I see something marketed toward women’s fat loss it’s usually a gimmick of some kind be it a diet or a “secret” fat loss workout.

The gym chains are not really helpful as they have adapted the same M.O for women’s fitness for years. Stick them in a room and forget about them.

Missing the point: By using tag lines such as 'Flexibility', 'Determination' and 'Focus', the chain of gyms hopes to broaden the benefits of membership from an active lifestyle to a life of high status

This was an actual ad in Europe for Equinox gyms. Are you kidding me?!

Sometimes the room is a women’s weight lifting area with shiny chrome dumbbells, sometimes it’s a circuit area, most of the time nowadays it’s the aerobic room oh wait I’m sorry group exercise area ;).

The method is still the same though. Take their money, stick them in a room, let them bounce around and forget about them. I remember some of the older big box gym layouts would have men and women’s locker rooms in separate areas and the aerobic room was always closer to the women’s locker room. I’ve seen them less than 50 feet from the women’s locker room door.


And this mentality permeates through fitness gyms today. How many fitness people do you think have seen Pumping Iron starring Arnold? How many do you think have seen Pumping Iron 2 with the female bodybuilders like Rachel McLish? How many do think even know there was a Pumping Iron 2?

I actually own this on VHS.

Women have a long history; I’m talking ancient history of being strong in every possible way including physical. And we see marketing like the idea of strong fit women is a new thing. I strongly encourage you all to encourage more women to embrace the strength that has been theirs for a millennia. And don’t think I don’t understand the apprehension.


Too often I have tried to offer advice to a woman at the gym who blows me off initially thinking I’m hitting on her. And I understand, there are a lot of knuckle heads out there. So I have learned to change my approach over time. Guys, you will probably have to work on that too.

Actually just to be clear, if you are going to join me in this crusade you can’t just offer to help those you are attracted too. I think the saddest part about this blog is that I feel the need to write that.

Will fitness ever change away from its shrink it and pink it mentality, I think so, eventually. There are signs of changes here and there. I just hope it changes sooner than later

What a great honour it is for a husband to see, at an auction

Where his wife’s effects are up for sale, belts, shin-guards,

Arm-protectors and plumes!

Hear her grunt and groan as she works at it, parrying, thrusting;

See her neck bent down under the weight of her helmet.

This was written in about 90 AD about the female Roman Gladiators of the day.  Didn’t hear about that on the Spartacus TV show did you?

Keep Fitness Groovy,

Coach W


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